Neerja Bhanot was a courageous and inspiring Indian flight attendant who became a national hero for her selfless actions during a hijacking incident. She was born on September 7, 1963, in Chandigarh, India.
Neerja began her career as a flight attendant with Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) in the early 1980s. On September 5, 1986, she was on duty aboard Pan Am Flight 73, which was en route from Mumbai, India, to New York City, with a layover in Karachi, Pakistan.
During the layover in Karachi, the flight was hijacked by four armed terrorists from the Abu Nidal Organization. Neerja displayed remarkable courage and presence of mind during the harrowing ordeal. She managed to alert the cockpit crew about the hijackers, allowing them to evacuate the aircraft, potentially saving the lives of many passengers.
Despite facing grave danger, Neerja continued to protect the passengers and crew members. She helped to hide passports of American passengers to prevent them from being targeted, and she also ensured that the emergency exits remained open, facilitating the escape of more people from the plane.
Tragically, Neerja lost her life while shielding three children from gunfire during the final moments of the hijacking. She was only 23 years old at the time of her death.
Neerja Bhanot’s bravery and sacrifice were widely recognized, and she was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award. Her legacy continues to inspire people worldwide, and she is remembered as a symbol of bravery, selflessness, and compassion.
- Real Name: Neerja Bhanot
- Profession: Model
- Date of Birth: 7 September 1963
- Date of Died: 5 September 1986
- Birthplace: Chandigarh, India
- Nationality: Indian
- Zodiac Sign: Virgo
- Height: 5 feet 8.9 inch (175 cm)
- Weight: 60 kg (132.2 lbs)
- Eye Color: Brown
- Hair Color: Black
- Father: Harish Bhanot
- Mother: Rama Bhanot
- Brother: Aneesh Bhanot, Akhil Bhanot
- Sister: Not Known
- Spouse: Naresh Mishra (m. 1985–1985)
- Son: Not Known
- Daughter: Not Known